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29 Best Dac/headphone Amps For The Money 2022

VoiceBo
  Jun 24, 2022 11:09 PM

29 Dac/headphone Amps best for money. This size is the most common. You will get a great experience from these FiiO, Dilvpoetry, Fosi Audio, S.M.S.L, FIFINE TECHNOLOGY, Y.D.F, Audioengine, iFi Audio, Donner, Monolith, Syba, Douk Audio, EarStudio, Creative, TNP Products, AOSHIKE, Audiolab, Moukey, Hdiwousp brands.Rating reviews from 23,047 customers


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11
  • SCORE
    9.0
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  • Brand
    Y.D.F
12
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    9.0
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  • Brand
    FiiO
13
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    9.0
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  • Brand
    Audioengine
14
  • SCORE
    9.0
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  • Brand
    iFi Audio
15
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    9.0
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  • Brand
    Donner
16
  • SCORE
    9.0
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  • Brand
    Dilvpoetry
17
  • SCORE
    9.0
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  • Brand
    Monolith
18
  • SCORE
    8.8
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  • Brand
    S.M.S.L
19
  • SCORE
    8.8
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  • Brand
    Syba
20
  • SCORE
    8.8
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  • Brand
    S.M.S.L

Last update on 2022-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

4.7
3 ratings

Discuss

Imran Munshi

Around $200 to $300 segment

xDuoo XD-05
The most versatile portable dacamp you can get in this price range. It has most of the inputs and outputs you would normally need.

Inputs: UCB, S/PDIF Coaxial, Line IN

Outputs: Headphone, Line OUT

Misc: Small OLED display for battery, current playback sample rate in the DAC, PCM and DSD filter selections, Bass boost, 3 gain levels, analog volume control integrated with ON/OFF switch, 6.3mm Jack instead of flimsy 3.5mm, socketed opamps

Reason: The DAC implementation (AKM AK4490) is superb. I am yet to hear an AKM implementation that is better than XD-05 below $300. Very transparent, revealing character without having any kind of harshness or glare.
The amp is OP+BUF architecture which means it is pretty transparent and powerful on the output stage too (BUF634 buffer). DAC output stage (differential amplifier) uses TI OPA1612 which is one of the best sounding opamps. The headphone amplifier section uses OPA1612 on a socket. You can replace it with any other opamp you want to get the kind of sound you prefer. This means that it has a customizable sound limited by the number of opamp choices available. It uses +/-9V rails, imagine that with a high current buffer with BUF634, this like a beastly portable dacamp, the HULK.

How powerful it exactly is? I have driven the following headphones very very satisfactorily:

  • Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro (250 ohms)
  • Audeze EL-8 Titanium
  • Beyerdynamic T1 gen2
  • Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro
  • Audeze LCD-2, 3, X & XC
  • Sennheiser HD600, HD650, HD660S, HD800 (Yup, all of them very satisfactorily)
  • Focal Elear, Utopia (Sounds better on XD-05 versus on WooAUdio WA6 tube amp)
  • HiFiMan HE400S, HE560, HE1000 V2, Edition X V2
  • Mr. Speakers Ether (Open)
  • Aeon Flow Open and Closed
  • Acoustic Research ARH1

Basically anything besides electrostatic drivers would be driven very very satisfactorily.

Burson Play Basic
This dacamp is my favourite desktop setup in this price range. Perfect. 3 stages of socketed opamps can result in any kind of sound you want. So it can literally pair up with any headphone you want with just a proper opamp arrangement.

The DAC implementation, ES9018K2M is superb. Very transparent and resolving, enough extension in bass and treble.

All other aspects like soundstage, bass and treble extensions, mid frequency perfornamce, midro details, nuances etc are dependent on opamp arrangements. You can change them yourself.

It can pump 2W into a 16 ohms load so it is pretty powerful too, has mic input, can be installed in your PC chassis.

Ardiyanto Wirawan Tjioe

It really depends on how you are going to use it, like for example whether portability is important and whether you are budget constrained or not. For me, I stopped changing DAC/Headphone after I purchased Objective2 with ODAC. It is my end-game Headphone Amplifier and DAC combo. I have owned it for three years and have listened to many other amplifier and DAC that my local headphone communities owned, yet still don't feel any urge to upgrade.

Scott Powell

There really isn’t one right answer, especially without knowing the budget, the headphones, and the intended usage (e.g, mobile vs. stationary).

Others have already mentioned some great products:

  1. iFI and Chord Mojo are both under $500.
  2. Audeze Deckard - ~$600
  3. Benchmark 1 - helped make the market for this product range. About $1k and potentially cheaper used.
  4. Mytek DSD-192 - one of the first, if not the first, to support DSD. Should be under $1,200 used.
  5. Simaudio 230HAD - about $1,600
  6. Ayre Codex - about $1,600
  7. Benchmark 2 - about $2k.
  8. Chord Hugo - about $2k and totally portable
  9. Simaudio 430 HAD - about $4,500, desktop
  10. Chord Hugo TT - about $4,700

Some of the less expensive models above are available online for 30-day trials. And if you have the budget for a higher-end model, appropriate retailers will usually let you put a deposit on the product and try it at home.

You could also consider combining a DAC and a good headphone amp, such as one of Schiit’s very innovative DACs and one of the headphone amps.

Good luck.